Reports in the Spanish press this morning claim that Werder Bremen’s Mesut Özil is on the brink of joining Barcelona.
The claims, made in Barcelona-based sports daily El Mundo Deportivo, say that Barcelona have reached an agrement to buy the German World Cup star for €12m.
All that is now required is for Barca boss Pep Guardiola to nod his approval for the deal to go through.
Playmaker Özil will not only help Barcelona get over the disappointment of failing to land Cesc Fabregas over the summer, he also comes cheap.
With only a year left on his contract, his price tag is less than half what he would normally command.
And there’s the added bonus that Barcelona can deprive Real Madrid of a player Jose Mourinho apparently covets.
If true, the news will come as a blow to both Manchester United and Chelsea, both of whom have been reported as showing interest in the player.
United need cover in the position, with Paul Scholes unlikely to play a full season and Michael Carrick coming back prematurely from injury to play in Sunday’s Community Shield.
Sir Alex Ferguson watched Werder Bremen’s recent friendly at Fulham, and when asked if United were one of the clubs interested replied intriguingly, “I don’t know.”
“In the world of football-speak,” reported the Telegraph, “this can be interpreted as something approaching a yes.”
Barcelona are 3/1 favourites to win the Champions League this season, Manchester United are 6/1.